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eldritch

[el-drich] /ˈɛl drɪtʃ/
adjective
1.
eerie; weird; spooky.
Also, eldrich, elritch.
Origin of eldritch
1500-1510
1500-10; earlier elrich, equivalent to Old English el- foreign, strange, uncanny (see else) + rīce kingdom (see rich); hence “of a strange country, pertaining to the Otherworld”; compare Old English ellende in a foreign land, exiled (cognate with German Elend penury, distress), Runic Norse alja-markir foreigner
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for eldritch
Historical Examples
  • Berwin gave a kind of eldritch shriek and stepped back a pace, as though to place himself on his guard.

    The Silent House Fergus Hume
  • She broke off, and shuddered violently, then burst into eldritch laughter.

    Prisoners of Hope Mary Johnston
  • Near the place now known as Place d'Armes the little band was greeted by the eldritch scream of eighty painted Iroquois.

  • Jacky, with her eldritch voice, had attempted to sing Bessie Bell in her honor—and to leave it all!

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • I endeavoured to shake my head in horror; on which she aimed a blow at me with her crutch, and vanished with an eldritch scream.

  • And the woman, whose voice had risen to a kind of eldritch sing-song, turned with a skip, and was gone.

    Kidnapped Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The injured and indignant animal gave vent to a succession of eldritch screams.

  • And the wizened little face, with its eldritch eyes and tangled hair, was withdrawn, and the door began to close.

  • It is hardly possible to exaggerate the weird fascination and eldritch charm of this once dreaded, ill-omened place.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • The brothers had hardly crossed the threshold of the house when an eldritch scream rang through the lofty hall.

British Dictionary definitions for eldritch

eldritch

/ˈɛldrɪtʃ/
adjective
1.
(poetic, Scot) unearthly; weird
Word Origin
C16: perhaps from Old English ælfelf + rīce realm; see rich
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eldritch
adj.

c.1500, apparently somehow from elf (cf. Scottish variant elphrish), an explanation OED finds "suitable;" Watkins connects its elements with Old English el- "else, otherwise" and rice "realm."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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14
15
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